The canal boat caught fire while its inhabitant slept.

A canal boat fire in the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bradford-on-Avon has claimed a life.

A passer-by alerted emergency services to a fire at 3:30 Sunday morning in a boat moored at the riverside in the quaint Cotswolds town.

Fire crews from three different towns — Bradford, Trowbridge and Melksham — responded to the blaze and remained on the scene for hours. They recovered the man’s remains inside the boat’s burned out hull when the fire was finally extinguished.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation according to a spokesman for the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The service released a statement saying four breathing apparatus wearers used two hose reel jets and a main jet to tackle the blaze.

Because of the damage to the boat, and the difficulty in getting safe access on board, firefighters remained on scene for some 12 hours, with a relief crew being mobilised from Corsham.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have started accidentally. The identity of the man will be released by Wiltshire Police once next of kin have been informed.

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